Consider the culvert. While bridges and asphalt are on display for the everyday driver, the drainage culvert-- although hidden from view-- is essential to any effective roadway.
"To maintain a good roadway you got to have the proper drainage," said Tom Anderson of VTrans.
After spring flooding and Tropical Storm Irene wiped out more than 2,000 of them, many municipalities and the state decided to build bigger for future storms to come.
"We have a lot of undersized culverts in the state and now that we're trying to meet the ANR standards, we're trying to upsize those culverts to meet those larger storms," Anderson said.
The town of Moretown had to replace two of its culverts on Wards Brook Road with a larger, sturdier design made out of concrete. The problem is FEMA won't pay for all of it and the town is left to fill the gap.
"For each small town this can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars. Collectively across the state we estimate it's potentially $10 million. So, this is a very, very significant problem for many towns that are cash strapped," said Sue Minter, Vermont's Irene recovery officer.
Another example is in Townshend, where the Dam Road culvert washed downstream, damaged beyond repair. FEMA has also left the town with a $100,000 shortfall.
Using Townshend as a test case, the state this week appealed to FEMA headquarters in Washington. In the appeal the state argues that, "FEMA has taken a short-sighted and unjustifiably stringent interpretation of its ability to fund upgrades."
"What we are disputing in this case is those structures where FEMA has said we're not going to pay for the largest structure because we don't see your state codes as eligible-- and that's our dispute with FEMA," Minter said.
In Barre Town, another culvert washed out by spring flooding last year is also due for repair. Although the replacement design will be larger, it will likely qualify for another FEMA program, hazard mitigation. But that funding source is of little use for many towns because of its stricter project requirements.
Minter says the state's beef with FEMA goes well beyond Vermont's borders.
"Really underpinning this need to build back stronger is a concern about our changing climate. We know that we anticipate more frequent and more intense storms, and that's precisely why we need structures that can endure," Minter said. "And actually we think this is a national issue. This is, I think, what FEMA's mission is-- to build back stronger. And we believe we are setting an example here that FEMA should follow and take elsewhere."
Coming to terms with Irene's costs more than a year after the storm.
So far, FEMA's full-funding denials have come from the Region 1 office in Boston. State officials hope this latest appeal will reach receptive ears in Washington.
Sunday, March 9 2014 8:08 AM EDT2014-03-09 12:08:24 GMT
This morning, Channel 3 has learned there will NOT be a bus strike Monday morning in Chittenden County. CCTA officials told us in a statement that after 19 hours of negotiations that went into the morningMore >>
This morning, Channel 3 has learned there will NOT be a bus strike Monday morning in Chittenden County.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:49 PM EST2014-03-09 02:49:49 GMT
The Burlington Yoga Conference began Saturday at UVM's Davis Center. The event gives participants a chance to connect the mind body and soul through workshops they may not have access to on a daily basis.More >>
The Burlington Yoga Conference began 6 years ago and has become a staple in the community.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:29 PM EST2014-03-09 02:29:17 GMT
A warning for pet owners in our region. Coyotes are on the prowl. A biologist in New Hampshire says he has received more than 10 calls recently, in the Keene, New Hampshire area, for a deer that was takenMore >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:21 PM EST2014-03-09 02:21:44 GMT
As spring approaches, many Vermont homeowners prepare to work on their houses - so they head to the Burlington Home Show. And many Vermont small business owners - with their products and services on displayMore >>
Many business owners at the Burlington Home Show say the new health care system in Vermont is helpful, but some say it's causing a real headache.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:07 PM EST2014-03-09 01:07:08 GMT
A rally at the State House in Montpelier Saturday. A passionate group of dozens of women, and men, assembled in front of the State House Saturday for the Women's March for Dignity. They were demandingMore >>
Women's March for Dignity say they are demanding lawmakers support paid sick day policies for all workers.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:21 AM EST2014-03-08 15:21:27 GMT
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries. They were injured while fighting a at the Bennett Farm on Route 15 on the Johnson-Cambridge town line. The fire started in a shed around 7:30 FridayMore >>
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:42 GMT
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury. They immediately took to Facebook after hearing about this fire and started planning to collectMore >>
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:05 GMT
Reporter: "What are some of the most common burn injuries that we see with kids coming into the hospital?" Jim Esdon, Dartmouth Hitchcock Injury Prevention Center: "This time of year, the glass frontedMore >>
We've had another cold week that's left homeowners cranking the heat. But what does that mean for kids' safety?More >>